"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Preserving and recycling

Although I keep every little moisture absorber sachet which arrives in whatever tablets that enter this house, I tend to keep them for sucking the moisture out of cell phones, camera's, etc which may have come into contact with water. Providing that you stip down the item as far as possible, and wipe of the visible moisture, before popping the gadget into a lidded airtight container with the sachets, that works a treat, and has saved many an electronic gadget :)

But, when it comes to food, I am not so keen to add those chemical sachets - just in case they break.  So I had to devise my own.
Tomato skins, sundried in my solar oven,
and ground down to provide us with instant
tomato powder
You may recall that I made some tomato powder from the skins of the tomatoes I harvested.  After drying them in the solar oven, I popped them into a grinder.

Once they were nice and powdery, I put them into a repurposed glass jar.

Then I pulled out the remnants my daily cuppa(s).

I always put the used teabags into a bowl next to my kitchen sink, until the bowl is full, then it's contents get emptied into the worm bin.
Empty, used teabags, which have been rinsed
and laid out to dry
This time I had another need for those used teabags...

After carefully separating / opening one edge of the teabag and emptying the tea leaves into the worm bin bowl, I rinsed the tea bags, and laid them out to dry.
Dry, rinsed used teabags, containing uncooked
rice granules, which is secured with a bit of
Then I put some uncooked rice granules into the teabag, and secured it with a bit of string.
This moisture absorber works -
and is as eco-friendly as it gets :)
The string-tied rice filled teabag then got put into the jar of tomato powder.

And that's all that's needed.

If the teabag bursts for any reason, the moisture absorbing contents will not contaminate the contents of the jar.

And, at the end of it's useful lifetime, the rice can be thrown out into the garden for the birds to peck, and the teabags and the string can all go in the worm bin.

It a bit fiddly, but it's worth all the effort, because it works beautifully :)

Now, can anyone deny that I am a bit OCD regarding recycling? ;)


Leigh said...

I hadn't thought to do my tea bags that way. I just toss them in bag, tea, and all.

I am very excited to tell you that just the other day I got my own solar oven! And I just ordered your recipe collection! I'm slowly working up a blog post about it, but am having fun learning and experimenting. :)

Dani said...

Leigh - It works, and fulfills a second function, so it's win-win LOL

Thank you so very much for your support - your recipes are winging their way across the (air) waves as I type this. I can't wait to read about your solar oven - did you also get a SunCook?

Please - let me know how you get on with the recipes? I have also tried to make them applicable to as wide an audience as possible viz the ingredients.

Happy solar cooking days :)

Vicki said...

Thanks for the hint. I had no idea that rice worked as a moisture absorber. I don't have tea bags, but I'll bet that scrap fabric would work to hold the rice. Got lots of that.

Dani said...

Vicki - Coffee bags will work too, but might need a more thorough wash to remove the smell :)

A scrap of "thin" fabric should work - especially if it has a wide / loose weave / knit.

kymber said...

Dani - as soon as i started reading the post about saving the moisture absorbers, i thought - well there's another thing that Dani and i do. however, the minute you mentioned food, i thought "oh no Dani - don't put those in food!!! use rice instead!!!". for a few heart-palpitating seconds, i was worried to death. then i read the next few sentences, and, like usual, you are way ahead of me!!!! re-using the teabags is just icing on the cake!!!! yer awesome girl!

much love to you and yours! your friend,

Harry Flashman said...

That's pretty clever. I'm all for making things for yourself instead of buying them if you can.

I see you attract a pretty high caliber of reader here! Kymber and Vicki are top flight. I don't know Leigh but I think I will start reading her as well.

DFW said...

My grandmother always added a few rice kernels in each of her salt shakers to keep it from absorbing moisture. You have just taken that to a whole new level. Way to go girl!

1st Man said...

DFW had the same comment as I, my grandparents always put rice kernels in their salt shakers. But wouldn't it figure, I never thought about using them in a different format like you have come up with. Love it. I have just been tossing the teabags in the compost bin but I might just have to start saving some of them. With us doing some more dehydrating lately, I've been thinking of something to cut down on moisture. Thanks!!!

Dani said...

kymber - I was tempted, but common sense prevailed :)

Dani said...

Harry - Thanks - wherever one can save on the cost and on bringing an item into the house the better as far as I am concerned.

Yes, I am sincerely humbled at the calibre of followers that I have - and, as usual, you have uplifted me when I was feeling down. Thanks Harry.

Dani said...

DFW - I do have rice kernels in my salt cellars too, but didn't want to add the individual kernels to ground tomato skins - t'would have been a hassle to remove them when I wanted to sprinkle the tomato powder. Necessity is the mother of invention LOL

Dani said...

1st Man - Thanks - Glad to be of service :)

Sol said...

wow Dani I had never thought of that. I empty out the innards of tea bags into the compost as somewhere I read in those bags there are tiny threads of plastic woven in to help keep the shape. poly something or other. I am going to try your dried skins. Do you add it to bread mix? please place a recipe or 2 for this

Linda said...

What a great idea! And I'm thinking salt tied in calico too?

Leigh said...

I got a Sun Oven. I did look into the SunCook, having read so much about it on your blog, but I suppose because it has to be imported it was about $150 to $200 higher, plus I'd have to pay shipping. That one doesn't seem to be used much here in the US, but the Sun Oven is also well made and readily available. Blog post tomorrow!

Bill said...

We are too and good for you! If we were all so careful to reuse things whenever possible (as our ancestors once were) the world would be a better place. May it yet be so. :)

Leigh said...

Oops, I put the wrong date on the post before hitting "publish" so my solar oven post went up today!

Dani said...

Sol - I haven't heard of teabags containing plastic threads, and my worms just devour them completely.

I'll post about the tomato powder in the not too distant future... :)

Dani said...

Linda - Thanks :) That, too, would work - though I haven't seen calico for sale here for ages...

Dani said...

Bill - Thanks - now I don't feel sooo bad LOL

Yeah - whatever can be re-used / recycled, the less needs to go to landfill.

Want not, waste not - or should that be waste not, want not? ;)

Used teabags are good for a bouquet garni also :)

Dani said...

Leigh - I saw lol

Your excitement is palpable - I'm so happy for you.

For us here in SA - a Sun Oven would probably cost even more than the SunCook especially with the additional transport costs. The SunCook doesn't come with dehydrating racks though ;)

Sol said...

here you go. polypropylene. That is why my sister doesn't have bagged tea any more. she was told (somewhere Dr-y) as she had cancer not to microwave food or have bagged tea, because of the plastics leaching and they give a hormone like oestrogen or something like that


Dani said...

Sol - I contacted the manufacturer of the Rooibos teabags that I use and they told me that their bags contain poly ethylene. Very sad. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

And here I always thought they were just paper... :(

Gonna have to pull out my tea caddy and use it from now on.

Quinn said...

Your little rice/tea sachets are adorable! In the case of my camera, sadly, an entire stewpot full of rice - and a camera - was not up to the task.

Dani said...

Quinn - Ha! That's why I keep those little dehydrator sachets that come with tablets. RSon once dropped his cell phone into a swimming pool. Retrieving it (which took a good few minutes), stripping it, wiping off the visible moisture, and placing it in an airtight container together with those sachets I had collected, resulted in - his phone working perfectly a week later :)